Words. I just can’t get enough of them. Playing Words With Friends keeps me out of trouble between face-to-face rounds of my favorite game, Scrabble, wooden tiles and all. Last year, I received a 2014 “Word-A-Day” style calendar, a gift from someone who knows of my fascination with words. I eagerly anticpated starting each day with intriguing, unusual new language I expected would inspire my writing, my art, my curiousity about culture, psychoanalysis and history. I even dreamt each morning’s new word would serve as a metaphoric template for my day. Unfortunately, I quickly noticed that my new calendar had a bit of an attitude, an annoying one at that.
These days, it’s hard enough to tune-out talking elevators, buses, and appliances, but after a few months living with my unrelentingly dour calendar I felt depressed rather than inspired. After a particularly rough patch, (the highlights were agita, prescind, enfant terrible, foozle, baleful, bogus, agress, glower and daymare), I couldn’t take it anymore. I turned my Word-A-Day calendar face-down on the dresser, where it has remained, mute, ever since.
Why, you ask, didn’t I just throw it away? The answer lies in an episode of the Twilight Zone called “Living Doll” or, for those who know it, “Talky Tina.” A father, played by a young Telly Savalas, maddened by the voice of his daughter’s menacing, talking doll, tries to break it, burn it, saw it and worse. Finally he thinks he’s finished it off, disposing of the mangled doll in a trash can. To his horror, and that of this viewer, the doll miraculously survives, driving the terrified father to an unhappy end. The nasty voice of my calendar, I am sure, is just as irrepressible.
In fact, just now, while writing this, I took a peek at my calender, curious to find today’s word offering:
/, ātē ˈsiks/, verb, slang : to refuse to serve (a customer); also : to get rid of : throw out
As 2015 approaches, I’ll have to consider my new calendar options carefully.